Luminary

Inspirational Malaysians That Have Gained Fame Through Social Media In 2014

Last week we had a list of Malaysians that gained fame in 2014 through the power of social media for all the wrong reasons. Now here’s a list of Malaysians that have gained fame this year for all the right reasons and continue to inspire the rest of us to follow suit. Of course if I were to list everyone that comes to mind, this article would be never ending. So here are just a few that have made a difference within the Malaysian community in 2014.

1. Uncle Sim

Image Credit: Astro Awani
Image Credit: Astro Awani

What Went Down:

Through the whole ‘Kiki VS Uncle Sim’ fiasco there was one clear hero. Despite getting verbally abused and watching his car get pounded with a steering lock, Uncle Sim held his head high from start till end. The video that went viral within hours had Malaysians riled up and defending Uncle Sim, saying that Kiki needed to be brought to justice and more importantly, that she needed to apologize to Uncle Sim for her disrespectful and over the top behaviour. This forgiving and humble senior citizen was quick to forgive her, even defending her at points, and kept telling the public to forgive her too as we all make mistakes. Uncle Sim became an overnight Malaysian Sweetheart.

What’s Up Now:

Uncle Sim was happy to fade away from his temporary limelight, and has returned to his simple life. Still, Malaysians speak of him with much respect and admiration. Kiki pleaded guilty on July 22, 2014 at the Kuantan Sessions Court. She was slapped with a RM5,000 fine and 240 hours of community service.

2. Elizabeth Tan

elizabeth

What Went Down:

These days there are floods of hopeful people uploading videos of themselves on YouTube. It’s a great way to get yourself out there as fast as possible. However, this could go one way or the other: You will either think you’re a diamond in the rough that’s yet to be discovered but the public will think you’re a walking disaster, or you will end up mesmerizing people leading to you getting ‘discovered’. In the Malaysian music scene, we have legendary Zee Avi that used Youtube as her platform to fame years ago.

This year, the beautiful Elizabeth Tan charmed her way into the hearts of Malaysian YouTubers with her amazing voice and sweet smile. During her two-year stay in Dallas, Elizabeth attended vocal lessons and that was when she realized that she didn’t sound all that bad! Building from this foundation, Elizabeth begun to experiment with different styles of music and found her niche within the jazz + folk + soul combo. The now 20-year-old singer/songwriter made it big this year when she posted up her rendition of late Dato’ Sudirman’s hit ‘Tanggal 31’ in time for Merdeka 2014.

What’s Up Now:

Elizabeth actively uploads her videos, some of which are cover songs and others are her original pieces. Her most recent upload is a cover of Robin Thicke’s Get Her Back/Lost Without You. You can follow Elizabeth Tan’s Youtube channel here.

3. Ashley Greig

Image Credit: Vulcan Post
Image Credit: Vulcan Post

What Went Down:

Recently, Panasonic kicked off a ‘Panasonic Beauty Malaysia’ contest. Ashley had gathered the highest number of votes by the closing date of Round 1. However, when the results were announced, Ashley hadn’t made the cut, most speculated that it was because she didn’t fit into the stereotypical generalization of beauty.

Shallow? Yes. Thankfully instead of keeping this bottled up, the young and brave Ashley turned to social media to voice out this unjust decision hoping to fight the system and stand up for this much needed cause. To her surprise, Ashley received streams of positive and encouraging messages and this fuelled her to not back down.

What’s Up Now:

Panasonic has called off the competition due to all the negative press they have been receiving and made an apology. Majority of the public feel that Panasonic’s blanket statement still doesn’t cut it, as it doesn’t directly address Ashley’s issue and they continue to demand that she receive a public personalized apology. Ashley remains strong and is now working on a worldwide campaign to raise awareness of equality in beauty.

4. Puspa Rani

Image Credit: Youtube
Image Credit: Youtube

What Went Down:

This animal lover is no newbie to the world of online success, however this year she seems to be on fire. Some Malaysians fully support her efforts, whilst some think the opposite. Either way, at least the woman is doing something to help rather than just reading about it and commenting from the sidelines! Puspa has to deal with daily animal rescue and abuse cases, but this year, two out of these thousands of cases made it to the public eye. Early 2014, there were images and complaints about a negligent dog owner that starved her Rottweiler to the point of skin and bones, leaving it anemic, malnourished and physically weak. Puspa jumped to the rescue, trespassed and rescued this dog. She was arrested for her actions, and released on bail. She rallied to bring the perpetrator to justice and hoped to give the Rottweiler a better home.

Image Credit: The Rakyat Post
Image Credit: The Rakyat Post

The second incident was involving the young boy that had heartlessly murdered a harmless puppy by swinging it around and crashing it to the ground. This video traumatized every one (even those that were non dog lovers), and again the public had reached out to Puspa to save the day. Malaysians were enraged, and wanted the harshest possible penalty for this boy but some were disappointed when Puspa said that he was still young and the only way she believed to tackle this was to counsel him, and make him spend time at the animal shelter to learn how to love and be kind to animals.

What’s Up Now:

Puspa runs Malaysian Independent Animal Rescue (MIAR) and also owns an animal shelter in Kajang. She has been receiving some bad reputation in the past year or two for her ways of handling these situations (people’s opinions always differ depending on their angle of perspective), but she holds strong to her belief that what she is doing is right and continues to fight for the rights of animals in Malaysia. She has a strong following of loyal supporters who cheer her on. You can find out more about Puspa’s efforts by heading down to her shelter in Kajang or by following her via her Facebook page:

5. MMO ‘Are Malaysians Racist?’ Video

Image Credit: Classtreet.com
Image Credit: Classtreet.com

What Went Down:

There are many heroes in this particular story. The video titled ‘Are Malaysian’s Racist?’ was made during the most crucial of times here in Malaysia, when racist arguments were being thrown around and the 1 Malaysia spirit was fading off….or so we thought. Malay Mail Online set up a mock casting for a supposed short film. The attendees didn’t know that they were deliberately going to be thrown off centre by being asked to repeat some racist lines from the fake script such as “Malay’s are lazy”, “Chinese are all pendatang” and “Indians are drunkards”. Attendees were even being offered money to repeat these judgemental lines, but all of them refused to agree with the casting manager and even fought back about it – defending their fellow Malaysians.

What’s Up Now:

This video is the 6th most watched video in Malaysia (at the time this article is written) and it’s great to know that all the amazing people in that video are out there keeping our multicultural spirit alive. Marina Mahathir even shared the video and commented saying, “Take that you racists!”

If you haven’t watched this video, here it is:

6. Syed Azmi, Organiser of ‘I Want To Touch A Dog’

Image Credit: Malay Mail Online
Image Credit: Malay Mail Online

What Went Down:

Syed Azmi Alhabsi, managed to successfully organize and carry out an ‘I Want To Touch A Dog’ event in Central Park Bandar Utama. Viewed as a hero by many, he also received an influx of threatening messages from conservative Muslims. According to Syed Azmi, the intention of the event wasn’t skewed towards challenging the beliefs of Islam, but to provide Malay Muslims with an opportunity to get to know man’s best friend up-close and personally. However, Syed Azmi had the backing of his supporters that defended his cause and were encouraging the conservative Muslims to forgive him after his recent heartfelt apology (after all, he had no malicious agenda attached to the planning of this event). This isn’t the first cause Azmi has championed, he has organized a string of charitable events for the betterment of the Malaysian community. A young man, with a great heart, but sadly misunderstood by some.

What’s Up Now:

After the endless stream of life threatening and hateful comments Syed Azmi received, he was forced to turn to the police and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission for protection. Syed Azmi continues his charitable efforts and remains a hero in the eyes of the majority.

 

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